tv Closing Session CSPAN February 25, 2013 9:00am-10:00am EST
the republicans have been saying we just did a deal the point -- the deal that addresses that and it is not time for another one. host: our guest is tom shoop. thank you for walking us through some of the cuts and explaining how it works with federal employees. we appreciate your time this morning. we have about an hour left on this monday edition of "washington journal." it is all about sequestration that is set to take effect this friday. we have a couple of half-hour segments coming up. we will break down the sequestered and its impact by the defense department area and then the homeland security department. we will be right back. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> you have to understand all the founders' primary concern was with national security. what would they say about a company such as lockheed? i am of the opinion that based on how they acted in other instances, they would have grudgingly favored a bailout of lockheed because it supplied the united states with its top fighter jet and reconnaissance airplane. i think you could make an argument they would have supported the bailout of chrysler in the 1980's but not a bailout today. what is the difference?
chrysler back then made tanks. they were our only tank manufacturer. when chrysler comes out of debt and repay is the government loan, the main when they do so is by selling off the tank division and plowing the money back into the company. >> the author and professor will take your calls, e-mails, facebook posts, and tweets on sunday at noon eastern on c- span2. >> "washington journal" continues. host: at the table now is marcus weisgerber here to talk about sequestration cuts due to take effect this friday. we will take a look at various
agencies are facing cuts, which they will mean for workers and the impact this party. we start with ways sequestration will impact the defense department. marcus weisgerber, what happens at the fence? guest: on friday, nothing will happen yet. everything will happen on march 27. they're taking precautions for what will amount to be bought at $46 billion cut in 2013 between the end of march and the end of september. host: where do the cuts come from? guest: they will be across the board. the only place they will not come from its military personnel. soldiers will not have any effect. host: break this down. speak about hardware. guest: the procurement and research and development accounts will be hit by the 10%
cut. in reality, they will probably get hit more. personnel will not be hit. we are halfway through a year and dod has not been making any cuts to date. they have to make up for what they have not done. host: much has been made of the civilian cuts coming. what is happening? guest: civilians and the of the have been notified. about eight and thousand of them are facing a 22-day furlough. that is about a month for them and a day per week for the remainder of the fiscal year. what about the planets? guest: deployments will not be effective. -- deployments will not be affected. they will continue to be funded at default level. the war accounts will be subject
to sequestration. dot will have to ask congress to take money from other places and shift it into those operational accounts so the soldiers have what they need. host: some more of the figures from the associated press as far as the defense cuts and sequestration. we are reading about a $3 billion cut in the military health care system. the pentagon could be restructuring contracts. what do you want to say about those areas? guest: training is going to be cut. dod has said only unit preparing to deploy will be training. everybody else in the air force and navy, the planes will be grounded. they will take the money they
would have used to do the training and shifted into the war account to pay for afghanistan. try care -- tricare is what you mentioned. people will still get benefits can be seen by doctors. host: a big fight in washington over the defense aspect. what else should we know about the defense area? guest: there will be an impact. there are two sides of sequestration. there is the side that we need to cut federal spending and defense needs to play a role. talking to people in the pentagon, a lot of them would agree with that. the problem is they are halfway through the year. they have not been preparing for this at all. they will have to squeeze all of these cuts into a six-month period. the next six months, it is
implemented, it will have an impact. in 2014, it will probably be more manageable. they will be able to choose where they want to make the cuts. host: our guest is marcus weisgerber of "defense news." the first call is from mark from michigan, a democrat. good morning. caller: hello? i was wondering. the money appropriated for hurricane sandy was over $50 billion. the money to be taken away from this is about the same. they are saying the sequestration is so terrible about job loss. how come it has not affected job gains on the east coast in the same amount in the short time
they have to spend that money? guest: i read something this morning saying the sandy money is possibly subject to sequestration. there will be significant job loss with a lot of agencies. they say they're could be up to 2 million jobs lost. that is due to contracts being slowed or stopped or terminated. ,ost: let's hear from elizabeth a republican. caller: i have a lot of relatives that live south -- themselves. i am wondering. i am sympathetic with their government, the
especially defense, is overreaching. i am wondering if relocating some military bases would take some of the pressure off of the inter-government [indiscernible] guest: i can talk about the number of bases is constantly up for debate. experts say the military has to many bases in the united states. the problem is there is no appetite in congress to close a base. when you close a base, that means the loss of jobs. it is also said you do not see much money up front when you close a base. that savings is seen five or 10 years down the road. host: we go to emily from wisconsin.
caller: it is my understanding that when there is a budget, last year of our government spent $4.3 trillion. this year, we have a budget of $4.8 trillion. from what i am understanding from what everybody has been saying this morning, they are going to cut from the $4.8 trillion. they are going to take $85 billion offer of that. how is that going to help? we're still going to be adding billions of dollars to our debt. one of the reasons i am an independent is to bring our spending down. from what everybody has said, all you are going to cut is the future moneys the government is going to spend. to me, that is not a cut. guest: you raise a valid point.
sequestration would have an impact if carried out through the 10 years it was put on the books for. for dod, and you are talking about $500 billion. you are right. with the figures you are talking about, it is not a huge one. host: senior officials recently briefed reporters ahead of sequestration. we have about a minute of tape from the undersecretary who is also the comptroller at dod on the cutbacks and furloughs for civilians. here is a look. [video clip] >> furloughs' is the only way we have to quickly cut personal funding. we have established a general approach we will follow. one is to make them our approach of last resort. we will insist on consistency
across the department. all organizations will furlough for about the same number of days. and there will be limited exceptions to these furloughs. we will accept -- except civilians deployed in combat zones. we will not furlough civilians required to maintain life or property, but only to the extent they have to do that to maintain the safety of life and property. they are not automatically exempted from furloughs. only to the extent managers determined to have to exempt some to maintain the safety of life and property. senator-confirmed political appointees are exempt by law. we will exempt our four national and please -- our foreign national employees.
host: the pentagon has said the majority of the 800,000 civilians will be furloughed to make up for the shortfall. what else do you want to add to what the senior official said? guest: one thing dod has started doing in preparation for the cuts is they are slow in the way they pay contractors. typically, they have up to 30 days to pay them. in the past few years, they have made it so they pay them right away. as soon as the paperwork is approved, they will cut a check. it can take 10 or 15 days. now in an attempt to free up billions of dollars, they will slow the payments to them. the big contract awards, they're not awarding major contracts for weapons, equipment, and stuff
like that unless there are critical for the war effort. host: let's hear from donna, arlington, texas, democrat for our guest. caller: i am a widow and veterans wife. are they going to be doing any cutbacks on pensions and stuff? guest: i am not sure. i believe veterans benefits are exempt. and would assume that would fall in that category. -- i would assume that would fall in that category. employees are in the same boat duty is in. civilians would face a for loan. if you make a call to a call center, it could make a difference in that were getting paperwork approved. host: thank you for waiting,
curtis. we're talking dod and sequestration. caller: my comments are relative to the subject on the air, defense cuts. he was mentioning clear-cutting tricare and military training. i wonder when they are going to cut the [indiscernible] budget. the president and his wife, almost daily see where they are taking flights which cost the taxpayers multimillion dollar. mrs. obama going overseas. they take all their friends, guests, and reporters with them. the biggest percentage of their flights are for political
purposes. do you have any comment on this? guest: in the pentagon and dod as well as other federal agencies, they are curtailing travel for employees for state conferences and stuff along those lines. that stuff has already been frozen. sequestration, there are waivers that have been approved. there have been some major military trade shows in the last two weeks down south. it is yet to be seen whether those will continue if the cuts go into effect. host: senator john mccain was on the talk shows over the weekend. here is what he had to say. [video clip] >> we have already cut undersecretary gates. we are on track to cut another $487 billion out of defense. now you lay on top of that these enormous reductions as well. by the way, defense is 19% of
the overall discretionary budget. defense is taking 50% of the cuts. if we do not believe our military leaders, who do we believe? i think what we're doing now to the men and women serving is unconscionable because they deserve a predictable life in the military. these federal employees do not know when they will be laid off or not. not to mention the contractors. host: john mccain says enough is enough at defense. guest: that has been the message consistently. robert gates laid out these cuts. his successor, leon panetta, has been against these cuts from minute one. he has been one of the few people in washington since the day the super committee failed was saying we cannot have
further cuts to defense. host: what did chuck hagel have to say? guest: he has been interesting. he has agreed with secretary panetta. chuck hagel is the nominee for defense secretary yet to be approved by congress. he has agreed with secretary panetta that the cuts would harm the military. he is against the way they will be carried out. the $46 billion over six months. during his confirmation, he said something that has not been set but other folks and officials, that we will be prepared for it. he has been quiet since his hearing, which is to be expected. i guess we will have to wait and see. host: congress is coming back into session. we hear the senate may have
competing bills. you can watch it live on c- span2. what do you expect to come out of washington prior to friday? guest: everything goes to the last minute it seems these days. we have been seen that the last few years. whether something happens this week, it is highly doubtful, speaking with my colleagues on the hill every day. they are not optimistic something will happen by the end of this week. the cuts will not be until the end of march. sequestration will be triggered on march 1. there will be a month where everyone can argue more and try to work out some sort of deal. host: 1 bureau wants to know how many days my business should expect to wait to be paid by dot. guest: small businesses will still get paid as quick as
possible, approved small businesses. it is more the big time contractors like lockheed. they will not be getting their checks as quickly. last year, omb made it so the prime contractors would get money quicker to feed their small subcontractors quicker and help to boost the economy. host: mike is calling from arizona, an independent. caller: the crux of the problem seems to be new tax revenue is provided by the private sector on profits and pay well. the federal employees and federal government withdraws money from the general fund to pay their employees. when the employees pay back the so-called taxes, which is nothing more than returning the same money to the syntax fund,
you do not have that much more new revenue going into the general fund. it is across the board. it is regular employees, and government employees, military and police. that is why we face the deficit we are facing. the private sector has been so downgraded and cut apart we are in an upside down period. the government is top heavy. we are teetering on a thin point. until they can bring the private sector back and get something going, there will not be that much more new tax revenues going into the general fund. the sequestration cuts are simply a real cut and not just manipulated numbers on paper like the $2 trillion they have talked about. guest: the defense budget has grown a lot. it has doubled over the past decade or so. after major conflicts like
vietnam, now again you are seeing a drawdown after the cold war, if you are seeing one-out after afghanistan and iraq. -- your sink another one after afghanistan and iraq. the department will have to resize itself as well as the industry that supports it. host: back to the of the from the recent briefing. the point was made sequestration does not a fool just folks in washington. effects folks around the country and the world. here is the acting undersecretary of defense. [video clip] >> sequestration will be felt in local command and the local communities. that is all over the united states and all over the globe. this is not a beltway
phenomenon. more than 80% of our civilians work outside the d.c. metro area. they lived and worked in every state of the union. if furloughs are enacted, civilians will experience a 20% decrease in their pay between late april and september. as a result, many families will be forced to make difficult decisions on where their financial obligations fly. host: more about the bite at dod. guest: a believe they said 90,000 jobs in virginia alone. you will see this in places where the military have major combat commands with heavy staff presents. less uniforms and more civilians. have space if you
command. places like -- in colorado, u.s. space command. places like that will be hit more. host: we have an independent caller from virginia. welcome to the program. caller: i work for an agency that does receive federal grants dollars. we recently received e-mails saying not to cut expenditures in anticipation of sequestration. how or why are we receiving grants dollars in excess of what we need to maintain operations? these agencies can cut funds. why are they not doing that anyway? why does it have to be in anticipation of sequestration? thank you. guest: not knowing your specific
issue, i cannot comment. secretary bob gates who was a holdover from the bush and administration, he did a lot to clean up within the -- within dod a lot of the waste and inefficiencies. the verdict is still out as to how much they will save long- term. there is a big consensus around town but a lot more can be done. he got people talking about it. the word you hear a lot in the pentagon when you talk to budget people or operators on the battlefield, people are talking about ways they can save money. host: baltimore, republican, matt. caller: i am a former opposition official of dod.
i am now 85 and retired. i keep in close touch with the programs going on. it seemed to me the sequestration is a marvelous opportunity not to cut across the board but to do a vertical cut on some of the less advantageous programs we have. f-22, dd 1000, if we just cut those programs we could get two or three times the amount of money we need for sequestration without any further impact. what is your opinion? guest: as to the specifics, if you kill programs, you will save money. often you hear the joint strike fighter, the fighter jet that will be flown by the navy, air force, and marines. it will be flown by a number of
foreign countries as well. the price tag on the program right now is $395 billion over 40 or 50 years. that is a lot of money. $7 billion is being put in each year. if you cut it, it will make a dent. if you start killing a number of programs, the more programs to kill, the more money you will save. host: our national guard furloughs' coming? guest: civilians, possibly. as far as soldiers, they are military personnel. host: let's go to david in winfield, kan., a democrat. caller: we're talking about cutting the across the different departments of the government.
most people that pay taxes for middle class, probably make $60,000 for a family of four. all the congressmen and senators and people that run the government that make $160,000 a year, why do you not take a cut? you cannot pass a budget and do your job. why should we pay you for not doing your job? you know? guest: it is a good point you brought up. there is a bill where is sequestration happens, they will not get paid. there a senior dod officials who have said they will not collect a paycheck if the cuts go into effect. host: this is from twitter.
guest: like i said earlier, that has to hit to the ebb and flow of defense spending. if spending is going to be reduced, the support structure is going to have to consolidate itself. the defense industry has been anticipating this for several years. a lot of them have been consolidating in terms of employees and facilities. they have been realigned where they have people. host: the last caller, richard from kentucky, independent college. go ahead. caller: if i was in charge, and would cut the military by 50%. -- i would cut the military by 50%. when they got over that, and would cut another 20%. here is why. you just said they had doubled
in the last 10 years. if you take away what we used to go into iraq and of kurdistan, they would be back to pre-war levels, their normal levels. then you have to cut another 25% out of that just to get anything real out of it. otherwise, they will keep the star trek programs going in the military costing billions of dollars. nobody sees a product when they see it does not work. here is my problem with the whole thing. host: 70% cut back to an old number. guest: that would be difficult now. the budget has grown that much. entitlements and health care have also grown exponentially. personnel costs are squeezing out other things such as procurement or research. the other thing you mentioned about advanced programs, a lot
of the programs you are referencing, the plane with a laser beam designed to shoot down missiles, that was one of the programs that came out of the last decade. it worked when they tried it. it cost billions of dollars to do. that was part of the deficiency initiative. it has been terminated. host: republican from texas for marcus weisgerber. caller: the previous person mentioned the amount of foreign aid is minimum, a relatively small. i have a problem with that. i wondered if you could give us a better idea of what that amount is. if you do not have that answer, is there some place i can go to get it? guest: i do not have exact figures in front of me. it should be on the state department website. foreign assistance, foreign
military assistance could be cut under sequestration but as much as $300 million. -- by as much as $300 million. that is not huge, but it shows the money been dedicated toward it is not as large as other accounts within the of the. host: our guest has been marcus weisgerber walking us through the nuts and bolts of sequestration coming on friday that will take effect later. now we take a look at sequestration set to begin friday and the department of homeland security and what all that will mean. rob margetta, walked us through this. with homeland security, what is going to happen beginning friday? guest: you are talking about cuts with every agency at the
department. you are talking about furloughs of 12 to 14 days for front-line workers, customs, border protection. you are talking about cuts to border staff. you will see lines increase at border checkpoints and customs lines at the airport. tsa is one agency where the federal government does interact with the public. the department has said at the busiest airports, you could see checkpoint lines increased by up to one hour. fema has said they will have to decrease their disaster relief fund money. immigration and customs enforcement has said they will no longer be able to maintain the number of detention beds that congress requires. host: what is the size of homeland security at this point? can the agency to absorb these cuts and still do the work it needs to do?
guest: the secretary has said this is a hit that they can take and maintain the current level of operations. she described this as destructive cuts and one that no amount of planning and will help them get around. with cuts, they say we will try to preserve security and cut around to see where we can find savings. this is one area where the department has said it will have some impact on security and the economy. host: what impact do you think it will have on security realistically? guest: it is hard to say. you have the border patrol's san there will have to cut back on agents. that is a significant number considering congress requires they have about 21,000 in both categories.
when you are talking about border security, we see a lot of drug trafficking and illegal immigration trafficking. it is hard to see where there would not be some impact when you are looking at that kind of hit. host: you mentioned the broader economic impact of world. what are you looking out? guest: that is a bigger concern than security. the travel industry is very nervous about this. they rightly point out that when air traffic slows down, a kind of become the target for this. they are afraid they could become the face of sequestration for the average person. when it comes to a cut in the government, the average citizen may not feel much of an impact. when they go to the airport and have to wait an extra hour, they will feel that. you are also talking about the southern border issues.
a lot of people think of that as just a security issue with illegal immigration and that kind of thing. that is an area where trillions of dollars in commerce flow over every year. every minute that this slowdown is millions of dollars worth of trade. host: our guest is rob margetta. you can read more of his work and that of others. we're talking about sequestration and homeland security. the across-the-board cuts including homeland security are set to begin this friday. rob margetta, we did have a defense against that said the cuts will not be felt as early as friday, but later on. can you walk us through the timing of the way folks will feel this? guest: the general theory is you will start feeling this around late march. that is when the cuts would
start to the impact areas like airport and border waits. the feeling is the longer it goes, the more you will feel it. the transportation and security administration head has said weekend furloughs and cup yacht, figure out short-term solutions. but if sequestration continues, we will have to take long-term views and reprioritize. host: the first call is from joan. what numbers of staff will be cut in the d.c. area versus border control or the faa?
let's cut the people in d.c. first and then take care of cuts at the border aviation, etc. i would like to know why we cannot send the bullets that homeland security has bought in the billions over to afghanistan. the marines have cut the training pullets --bullets for training the afghans. they are losing the bullets they need to train the afghans. why can we not send some of those over there? the other one is for the training of the troops heading over to afghanistan are being cut by the marine corps.
host: cut the folks in d.c. versus a place like the border. when we talk about across-the- board cuts at the chess, are we talking about equal cuts in both areas? is there a distinction in this part of the government? guest: the government has released a state-by-state breakdowns on how these cuts will affect your area. no real surprise. weather is more homeland security, there will be a greater impact. texas and california will feel the pinch. in terms of cutting one particular area, every federal department have said these are such great cuts we cannot just cut one section of our operations. it has to be across the board. it will be felt all over. as far as d.c. goes, customs and border protection, tsa, fema,
these are not agencies with tremendous amounts of operations in the seat upon --in d.c. when they are looking at cuts this big, they have to go after those areas. host: gordon, where are you calling from? caller: hot springs, arkansas. caller: i think homeland security is wildly overfunded. they sit on their butts on our dime. are sharedon's views by some people in congress. even people who feel of homeland security is overfunded and would
like to see it cut back have said this is a bad way to go about it. when you are looking at these indiscriminate cuts, you are not just going after areas where there may be a waste of overspending. you are putting good money along with bad. host: from the associated press, homeland security and sequestration looks like this. at the fbi, furloughs and a hiring freeze would cut 2285 employees. every fbi employee would be furloughed 14 work days. there would be fewer agents and facilities. weakened efforts against cyber threats. the fema disaster relief fund would lose more than $1 billion. anything beyond those numbers you want to bring out? guest: an area the coast guard
is increasing operations is in the arctic. because of the receding ice, the arctic has greatly opened up to shipping and exploration. the coast guard is looking to expand its work up there. these cuts would require them to pull back the work by about 1/3. the air and surface operations would have to be decreased by about 25%. host: earlier this month, we heard from the secretary testifying on the senate side about the impact of sequestration and homeland security, including delays at the nation's busiest airports. here is take from the secretary. [video clip] >> sequestration and would be destructive to our nation's security and our economy. it would negatively affect
readiness and capabilities of the men and women on the front lines. it would undermine significant progress digest has made over the past 10 years to build the nation's preparedness and resiliency. most critically, it would have immediate consequences to the flow of trade and travel at our ports of entry, including many ports represented by numbers of this committee. at the major international airports, the average wait time to clear customs will increase by 50%. at our busiest airports like jfk and lax, peak wait times could grow to four hours or more. delays with cause thousands of missed passenger connections and have severe economic consequences of the local and national levels. furloughs of transportation security officers will increase
domestic week times at our busiest airports by more than one hour. host: rob margetta a lot of waiting to be expected according to the secretary. are we being warned in other places other than tv shows? how will this work? guest: it is tough to say. i think the administration is trying to get ahead of this. i think you are going to see the department of homeland security advising people in terms of travel to get to the airport an hour earlier. in some ways, the transportation security administration had been making progress. the travel association will acknowledge while there is a lot of work to remain committed you are seeing wait times come down. anyone who flew immediately
after 9/11 and flies today will see you will not find a giant white lines at checkpoints. this could be a return to that. host: will there be any cuts to the drug enforcement agency? guest: i am sure there will be. that is a justice department question. that is not a number i have in front of me. caller: this is mary smith. i want to know why no one says stop spending so much of our money and weapons out of the country. we are sending them to our enemies. if we would keep that money at home, we could avoid this whole thing and make ourselves more
secure. my brother is a tsa agent at the detroit metro international airport. he has caught people trying to smuggle knives in books. we have a large middle eastern population in michigan near the airport. i think that is important to be very smart about where we make these cuts if and when they come. i believe if we kept much of these billions that we send overseas in the country who could help ourselves and. helping our enemies. host: rob margetta. guest: when you talk about making smarter cuts, the obama administration is saying we cannot make smart cuts. we have to make across-the-board cuts. when it comes to sending money
overseas, that is a defense department issued. that is the kind of debate people are talking about. if you want to avoid sequestration, we have to talk about how we are spending money. i know she mentioned her brother is a tsa agent. one of the issues that could come up for homeland security, tsa is one of the lowest ranked agencies in the federal government when it comes to job satisfaction. i have been talking about the border patrol a lot. the border patrol is an agency that comes up when they worry about corruption. at the southwest border, drug cartels could be tried to bribe agents who may not be making much money. when it comes to furloughs and job cuts, things like job satisfaction probably will take a hit. host: some perspective on all of this. how much of the $85 billion in cuts come from homeland
security? guest: i could not give him the exact number. as far as the cuts being more drastic than reality, they have a percentage they have to cut. host: moving on to david in vancouver, washington, an independent. caller: i am glad the previous caller mentioned the middle east. currently, our government is spending about one half of its discretionary budget on military defense and homeland security. we would do well to pay attention to what our government is doing of around the world. a few years ago, senator
hamilton was on the 9/11 commission during the hearings. he asked the question of a couple of fbi agents and cia agents. what made the men jump on the airplanes and fly them into our buildings? the answer was our support of israel's abuse of their neighbors, particularly the palestinians, who they are still abusing and continuing to build illegal settlements on stallone land. that infuriates a lot of people. that is the cancer in the middle east we're having to defend against. we're having to do that with our tax dollars. would it be better to change our state department policy and federal government policy? i know this is out of your loan, but it is all connected. we do not need to be sending troops abroad supporting
dictatorial regimes that supply oil to our allies. we do not need the oil. we get less than 10% of our oil from the middle east. host: we get the point. we want to see if our guest has anything to add. guest: that might fit into the type of discussions sequestration was designed to prompt, the idea of how we're spending money. can we cut back in some areas to avoid across-the-board cuts? if it is federal spending, it is a question that would be included in that discussion. host: al is on the line from toledo, washington, democratic caller. caller: i spent 30 years in the military as an enlisted man. i work on war plans. i started when i was 24.
these military members are expected to be diplomats as well. we are representatives of the united states overseas. our military budget is lower when we have cooperation with countries. they cooperate. we are cutting back on forces as a result of cooperation with nato. we send many overseas with different agencies and programs that help people, that generates good will, and helps us to keep from going to war. we're sending part of our people in homeland security and customs enforcement overseas where they inspect cargo on ships before they set sail to the united states, helping to keep us free and make sure that stuff that comes into the united states is free.
a lot of people do not seem to understand this interaction. it all ties together. when we cut too deeply across the board, we are hurting programs. congress because of contracts in their districts refused to cut the programs. host: go ahead, mr. margetta. guest: you mentioned there is foreign aid aimed at engine during the goodwill -- engendering good will. tsa and border patrols have a lot of international capabilities. tsa works with other countries to build up their own aviation security measures. there is the argument attacks of the last 10 years to come from foreign airports and not domestic airports.
they have been trying to secure international agreements. the secretary has been active abroad. when it comes to border patrol, they work closely with mexico and other countries to stall the drug-trafficking. when you see across-the-board cuts, it is hard to think those operations would not be impacted. host: is homeland security made up of contractors? guest: the department does have a high percentage of contractors. i do not have the figure in front of me. at one point, it was 50/50 contractors to federal workers. the argument was they did not have the resources to hire and develop employees when they needed an immediate buildup of forces after 9/11.
contractors were more cost effective. that is something the chess has been working on for years. it is still a struggle because they need a lot of talent. that talent is expensive. host: clarify something about fema which falls under homeland security. we are reading of the disaster relief fund would lose more than $1 billion. explain how that works. if there is another disaster like sandy, where with this money coming from? guest: the disaster relief fund is almost a separate issue from sequestration. when there are disasters, congress can have a direct appropriation that just looks at that particular disaster. it will impact fema's ability to respond to smaller disasters quickly, things like tornadoes
and wildfires could be impacted. disaster relief is an issue that it can affect members' home states. it is hard to think congress would not have supplemental funding. there's a big debate about whether a supplemental funding should be offset with cuts to other areas. with sandy, congress has passed a disaster relief bill for that. that would be included in this particular cut. host: is across the board it will? is it true that border patrol agents are cut much greater than port inspectors? guest: i am not sure about whether it is proportional. i have not heard that statistic. i could not answer that. i do know the department is saying you would have to look at
how many employees exist, how much they are paid, and how great the operating budget is. host: as you continue to follow this story this week with the sequestered scheduled to begin on friday, when you expect the dialogue to look and sound like -- what do you expect the dialogue to look and sound like? guest: i expect a lot of people saying we need to avoid this. i do not expect to seek a solution emerged. in homeland security, no one likes the idea, but no one seems to see a path away from it. host: moving on to john in colorado, a republican for rob margetta. caller: i am quoting from the
sun. "new york times." the budget grows automatically every year. taking a look at the 2.4% across-the-board cuts, a sequester is not really a cut. it will just slow the growth of the budget of federal spending in the next fiscal year. i find it amazing when we have all of this concern. it will really just the slowing in the growth of the budget. guest: i am afraid i do not have the paper in front of me. when it comes to slowing the growth of the government, there are factors that come into play. rising health care costs, inflation. the budget does grow even without getting more back for what is being spent. secretary of paulette thomas -- secretary napolitano and other
secretaries have said they're looking to cut their budgets by 5%. we have not seen those proposals. there is an argument from the federal government that they are working on this problem. when next year's budget proposals come around, you would see a decrease. host: one last call for our guest from tennessee. caller: about a year ago, a news magazine highlighted the waste incurred by the then head of the nsa who spent several billion dollars wasted on surveillance projects when we have people in the organization that, with a program that would -- that would aid in surveillance for about $
1.5 million. three or four people were involved. they tried to get their program out front. the head of the nsa continue to spend billions of dollars on a program that failed. these people in developing prosecuted. they were prosecuted for this. -- these people ended up being prosecuted. they were prosecuted for this. this goes back to waste in the government. every time you open your program, you need to play the speech from eisenhower. beware of the military industrial complex. host: final thought from you, rob margetta. guest: lloyd brings up the issue again of waste. i do not think anyone in the government would contest the idea that there is waste. there are areas for efficiencies. efficiencies.